Thursday, July 05, 2007

Abusing the abusers..

There's nothing more that gets me more violently angry than sexual abusers - paedophiles and the like. I often think about what form of restraint I could apply against extreme violent intent, had I a daughter that I found out someone had abused. Its easy to understand a father that would want to murder a paedophile who had tampered with his children. In Nigeria, the alarmingly widespread sexual abuse against young girls is too often swept under the carpet. The time is long overdue for an awareness campaign and some form of moral campaign, with the churches, the mosques and other institutions/organisations taking a strong stand.

With this in mind, its heartening to see campaigns like the following stance against Nigerian paedophiles in the US:

"The Cover Up"
Pedophiles in the Nigerian community
The "Cover Up" has long plagued the Nigerian community. The nature of this cover up is much to the disgust of the any living, moral person. The details of this plague are graphic in nature and will cause alarm to those who read this. The "Cover Up" in the Nigerian community refers to the sexual molestation of young innocent girls in America by fellow Nigerian men and the instantaneous reaction of parents to conceal it from the public and erase it from the child's memory. This reaction does not include therapy for the child, emotional console for the child, or punishment of the culprit. It is dealt with in most cases by withdrawal of contact between the child and the culprit and implicit mechanisms that demean, debase and emotionally cripple the child and her allegations. The culprit will go free without any condemnation or say so, just a peaceful good bye, well that should not be the end of it!

As a victim of the "cover up", I do not feel that abuse in the Nigerian community mirrors that of the American society because of the nature of the plan of action. Although I do not feel like it mirrors American society, I do feel like it is not limited to the Nigerian community. We are, however one of the few communities left that has not recognized this issue. I am not writing this to demean or in any way embarrass my community, I am writing not only as a medium through which to express my outrage but also for acknowledgement and change. We need to understand that level of emotional damage that happens in these young girls.

Acknowledgement. This perhaps is the most difficult task to accomplish in the Nigerian family faced with this type of tragedy. Thoughts of humiliation and embarrassment outweigh the need to acknowledge abuse in the family. The label "Proud Nigerian family" is the motivational factor behind every Nigerian family in America and overseas. Well, my stance is this: THE LABEL IS GARBAGE! The so-called "Proud Nigerian Family" is reveled with lies, deceptions and over zealous boasting. What saddens me is the negative effect it is having on the kids in these households sexually abused or not. The children already must try and sustain a level of "show and tell" and a sexually abused little girl fits nowhere in this "family". "That's what a woman is for", says the typical Nigerian man. "If you tell anyone, you will disgrace and shame yourself", says the typical Nigerian mother. This attitude about little girls is derived from the views of women more as property to be auctioned off and sold to the highest bidder than a citizen capable of being productive. A sexually abused little girl is not going to "get the highest bid"; she is rather considered "used goods" to the typical Nigerian man. Yes, it is an awful thing to say and an even more awful way of thinking, but it is a truth that instead of coming to live with it like most Nigerian-born women, I and hopefully we all will take a stance against it.

Change. After acknowledgement, we need change in our community. This cannot go on any longer. We need to be proactive in raising our future. As parents, siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews, and all others we should have the desire to inquire about our children, ask questions, make suggestions, and most of all consider the unthinkable and have a plan of action. We need inform our little girls about what to do if this were to ever happen to them and most importantly; We Need To Listen. We need to disregard this barbaric way of thinking that most of our parents raised us with. We need to acknowledge everyone as not just physical but emotional human beings. We need to consider our beautiful little Nigerian girls not just as future mothers but as future providers, nurtures, support systems, professionals and most of all take notice of their behavior. Confidence, shyness, and reaction toward men should be a basis for considering behavioral characteristics in little girls.


As an American-born Nigerian woman, I a cannot help but consider my sisters at home who have and are still being victimized by the "cover up". For them I ask,

"Chineke, kpoputa ndi ogbenye na ndi enwegi; zoputa ha naka ndi ojoo." (Psalms 82:4)

"Lord, deliver the poor and the needy; free them from the hand of the wicked."(Psalms 82; 4)


Anonymous,  1:05 am  

Why the focus on just little girls as victims? and men as abusers. If only the issue was that simple

Stella-Belle 6:44 am  

It's good to see that someone is finally standing up to this.
I also think we need to address the institutionalized violence against children in the education system in Nigeria. In many schools, violence is not even swept under the rug.. it is PROMOTED, and teacher flog students freely and enjoy it.

Anonymous,  10:22 am  

About time someone speaks out about this evil.

I was at the reading of Jude Dibia's two books - one focusing on intolerance of gay people in Nigeria and the other on abuse on women (incest etc). What amazed me was that most of the participants in the Q & A session seemed only to care about their interpretation of homosexuality and the Bible and they seemed to be okay with incest and women abuse... This goes a long way to show how Nigerians traet the issue of child sexual abuse and women battering.

Christian Writer 4:29 pm  

Here in the UK, I've lost count of the number of women I've met that have been sexually abused by male members of their families (fathers and brothers included) from a very young age. The scars remain, 20, 30 years down the line. Yet, the majority of them refuse to talk to about it, seek legal redress or even see a professional counsellor for it. If you ask them why, they'll say, 'talking doesn't solve anything, the fact remains that it still happened and as for confronting the person that did it or even telling my family, seriously, who will believe me?'

As for the men, well, it's a case of 'I'm a man. Things like that are not supposed to happen to men, therefore I will pretend that nothing happened and no, I will not talk about it.'

Chxta 2:16 pm  

Yes, we do cover up a lot. Epilogue to this story, the girl has left the forum, the guy is still there 'voltroning' around like the local champion that he is, and as far as members are concerned, all is well with the world.

Qui tacet consentit, we still have a long way to go...

Patrice,  5:45 pm  

The blog of Confused Naija Girl here has personal accounts of abuse. See the SHare YOur STory series of posts.

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